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Vacation - Chapter 4

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I guess I should just make this the last entry about vacation so that I can move on... especially since it's been two weeks since we got back and I'm forgetting lots of little things by now. :)

The rest of our vacation was as enjoyable as the first half. My mother-in-law, Kathy, came down to stay with us from Thursday night on. It was great having her there, despite the fact that she overly-spoils the kids more than anyone else in the world. :) They were so thrilled to see her. I am sure they felt like they hit the jackpot with everyone being there at one time. It was one big party for them.

Jake really got going on Wednesday night before Kathy got in town, but showed his true colors when she had dinner with us on Thursday and Friday nights. I am not sure if he was just sick of eating out, but he was HORRIBLE at dinner. I've never in all my life seen a kid act as bad as he did. He screamed, threw food at me, threw his body backward, as if he were going to throw himself out of his high chair, tried to knock things off the table, and screamed some more... THE ENTIRE MEAL on both nights. It was AWFUL! I spent most of those meals outside with him, where he seemed perfectly content. Of course, these were the two nights we had held out for, knowing that Kathy would want to go eat at good restaurants. So, I missed most of the really good food on our vacation. I guess that's all part of being a mom, as unfair as it seems. I swore to Brad on Friday night that I would not take Jake into a good restaurant to sit down and eat for a LONG time. I don't think we've gone out since. Unless you count McDonald's as being good!! Bailey was always tough to deal with at this age, because she wanted to have undivided attention from everyone, but she was never as bad as Jake was on those nights. That's truly not something we say very often... :)

Before our vacation was over, I also received a wonderful compliment from a Walmart associate. My mom, Colt, Joe, Jake, and I had gone to Walmart to get a few things to help us finish out the week, including beer. I was checking out and the cashier asked me for my ID and said she'd need my husband's ID as well. I told her that my husband was back at the condo. She looked up and said that she thought my husband was the man holding the baby... my 17-year old brother, Colt. I thought I would totally crack up. I just laughed and told her that he was my brother... younger than me by 10 years. She couldn't believe it... which left us wondering... does Colt look really old or do I look really young? I am going with the latter to make me feel good. :)

Bailey and Jake also got new pets while we were on vacation... Myrtle and Ertle the Turtles. The night before we left, we stopped in one of the little shops on the beach to buy them some things, namely turtles, because I had promised Bailey that we'd get some. Sixty+ bucks later, we had two turtles and a little carrier. Little did I know that they grow to be about a foot wide each, they need an aquarium (which we did have), and that they poop more than they eat (or so it seems). Within a day of cleaning the aquarium, it was green yet again (yes, we even have a filter). Low maintenance in comparison to some animals, but still a hassle. They are really amazing though. I keep waiting for one of them to figure out how to climb to the top of his rock and leap over the edge of the aquarium. He seems to contemplate it for a long period of time every day. And the kids really love them. They check on them 100 times a day. Jake has even been saying "Tuh tuh." We feed them these little green reptile sticks (which smell like raw fish and smell our entire 2nd floor up). Bailey calls them the turtle's green beans... very cute. :)

I've dropped all of my film off to be developed and will get them back tomorrow, so expect a full array of pictures in the next few days. I'm sure I'll have a few little stories to tell with them... but again, I'm forgetting a lot of things now that it's been a while! :) Thanks for reading!

Vacation - Chapter 3

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Well, I've been slow in writing. It's been tough sitting down at night in front of the computer. But, back to the vacation...

From Tuesday on, the weather was great! We had a couple of storm showers of the evenings, but we were able to lay out in the sun for most of the day each day. The kids really enjoyed the sand and water. We finally figured out a good system to get them out early and keep them out through lunch. We started packing "Uncrustables" and a cooler full of drinks and snacks each day. It was great.

Bailey really enjoyed playing with the older boys. They were better at making sandcastles and coming up with creative things to do in the sand, so it was wonderful that she had someone to play with. Jake enjoyed playing musical chairs with our lounge chairs... he would do anything to get out of the sand. He liked the water, but not as much as he liked the pool. He did not think it was cool that the water tried to pull him back and forth as the tide came in and went out. There was just something about the sand burying up his feet that he just couldn't deal with.

I think the kids enjoyed the pools more than anything. I can't tell you how many times we would hear, "Can we go back to the pool?" Jake even seemed to perk up when the pool was mentioned. Brad was wonderful about taking them to the lazy river to swim, giving me some time to lay out, talk to my mom and Angela, and help Angela with her boys. At one point, I actually grew concerned that something might have happened, because Brad was gone with them both for over an hour. :) Time with Daddy is always great. I'm glad that the kids had some time to enjoy with just him.

At this point, all of the nights are running together, so I can't remember which night we took Bailey to the amusement park. Mom watched Jake so that we could take Bailey and let her ride some rides. She had a BLAST! She was dying to ride the ferris wheel, which I am terrified of. Of course, Brad thought it would be great for me to take her on this one. As I sat at the top of the wheel with Bailey looking over the crowd below, I really thought I would throw up. Bailey was a champ. She didn't even seem to be a little scared. I was a nervous wreck, feeling like I was going to topple over at any minute. My hands were shaking, my heart pacing... I don't know why in the world I let them talk me into going. Brad should have gone... totally should have.

Anyway... after that was over, Bailey rode a bunch of the little rides. She found a friend that would ride with her, which was perfect since she was being little miss independent and was determined to ride by herself. They had a great time. She did not like the bumper cars though. They had a very small version of bumper cars and Bailey was dying to try it. She didn't really understand the concept, but she was determined. She can't drive at all. She can't figure out how to steer. She can't figure out how to pedal a bike. She just can't get it all together (yes, you can say she's like me, I know.). So, we knew this was going to be a disaster, but we were hopeful that she wouldn't be the only one. She got stuck behind a little boy in her car and couldn't figure out how to move. Brad and I were yelling directions to her (just imagine two overly-competitive parents at a t-ball game and you'll get the picture). Finally, the little boy in front of her figured out how to bump her out of the way, bumping her into another car. Tears ensued and she cried out that everyone was hitting her. I had to rescue her from the ride. It was hilarious... but it also made me feel bad for her. She was so upset. Fortunately, that didn't turn her off to the rides. We spent about an hour and a half riding rides and walking around. Finally, we decided it was time to go. And of course, we walked back into the condo to find my little man still awake (past 11) and going strong. This was the start to several nights of Jake closing the place down. :)

Vacation - Chapter 2

Thursday, July 17, 2008
I guess I forgot to finish up Sunday night... and this is part that I can't believe I forgot to include! For dinner, we (me, Brad and the kids) drove to Broadway at the Beach. Not wanting to take the kids to a seafood restaurant and having the temper tantrums follow within seconds, we decided to go to what we thought was a kid-friendly restaurant... Senor Frogs. Well, if any of you have been to Senor Frogs, you're probably already cracking up. The place was, as we expected, totally kid-friendly. It was extremely loud, so much so that we were yelling to talk to one another. The kids could have screamed, cried, and cussed and not a soul would have paid one bit of attention, which is kind of a relief when you spend a lot of time in a restaurant trying to keep children happy. There was a bar atmosphere, but also a family feel to the place. Children danced in front of the stage where contests were held, music was BLARED on the speaker, and people seemed to be unusually busier than most restaurants.

We sat down at the table and were getting settled into the menu, when out of the blue, a server/employee in a cowboy/robber style mask comes up from behind me, shoves a fistful of napkins under my chin, pulls my head back and begins pouring what I am at this point hoping is a non-alcholic pink lemonade. Total shock for me and the kids, but quite hilarious when I look over the table and see them doing the same thing to Brad, who is yelling, "What the hell is this?" As the employee keeps urging Brad to drink, he keeps asking what it is. Finally, he gives in and the employees disappear into the chaos, leaving us with two totally shocked children to console. Upon getting them calmed down, I am surprised with another visit from our robber-style friends. They come up behind me, swing my chair out into the aisle, tilting me back and again, giving me another drink of pink lemonade. By this point, the kids are totally freaked out - Jake is reaching for me from the booster seat that he's considered hopping out of and Bailey is looking at me with her jaw dropped as far as it will open. Both must have been terrified. And Brad and I both looked at each other in disbelief. All four of us seemed to be thinking the same thing, "What the hell is this place." After we got into the routine of seeing all of this chaos and dancing along to the music and contests, we had a great time. Jake enjoyed standing in my lap and letting me move his arms for the YMCA. Bailey enjoyed dancing too, but was more mesmerized by the huge green frog footprints that were painted to the floor. Our server had told her that there was a huge frog hopping around some place in the restaurant. All in all, we had a great time and would recommend it to someone with kids, as long as they were prepared for the possible ambush! :)

That night ended early on Monday morning. Brad and I ran out to the store to get a couple of things and to mail some things out for our health insurance - a whole other story in and of itself. While we were gone, we kept noticing the black clouds that were rolling in. We were completely disappointed that we would be stuck inside all day, especially with five children under the age of 7 who were dying to get out on the beach. When we got back to the condo, the storm was coming in and so was Mom, Angela, and all of the kids. Fortunately, Bailey was exhausted. By about 2 p.m. that day, she was barely able to hold her head up and Brad convinced her to take a nap. It was an interesting day at the condo... kids were bouncing off the walls, watching tv intermitently, fighting some, and eating more food than we could imagine. I think they went through about 40 packs of Scooby Doo gummies in a day and a half. :)

With Cory being gone, the boys decided it was time to test the waters. It was cute, at first, but by the end of Monday all of us were ready to kill them and Bailey and Jake. Jake had decided it was time to start acting like the big kids, so climbing to stand on the tables, running up and down the hallway shrieking, and throwing things (which he's done forever) were his favorite things to do all day. They were all going to push the envelope as far as they could (who wouldn't - it was vacation!). Even the most patient person there, my wonderful husband, separated them all and raised his voice (if you can believe that!). It was definitely the hardest day of the week and we were all concerned that we would be stuck inside with them everyday.

By Tuesday, the weather cleared and we were able to get out on the beach. More later this week... I should have been writing while I was on vacation. :)

Vacation - Chapter 1

Monday, July 14, 2008
We had a wonderful vacation - filled with lots of relaxing by the pool and on the beach, eating tons of good food, and spending quality time with family. I could probably write a book on all of our funny little experiences, so I'll try to limit them to a few days worth of blogs instead of one HUGE one!

And, I did take TONS of pictures, but I took them with my good ole 35 mm camera, since the quality is much better. Problem with that is that it will probably be a few days before I get them back and upload them... stay tuned.

The trip to the beach was not bad at all. We left at about 4:30 on Saturday, July 5 (our 5 year anniversary, I must add). Of course, Bailey was wide awake and way too excited to go back to sleep, so she was up the entire trip. Yes... the entire trip. But, I can't complain. She was wonderful. She watched her shows and snacked on various junkies. Jake was also wonderful. He slept on and off throughout the trip. By the third (of at least six stops), he had grown tired of getting in and out of the car and threw terrible temper tantrums when we put him back in the car seat. It was understandable though. He doesn't love TV the way Bailey does and he's not quite as used to traveling as Bailey has always been. All in all, it wasn't bad. We arrived at Myrtle Beach at about 4:30 that evening.

We were greeted by the rest of the family when we arrived. The boys - Eian, Braden, and Gage - were all anxiously awaiting our arrival and helped us unpack the luggage rack quite quickly. :) It was very exciting, especially for the kids. They probably felt like royalty. We spent the evening in the lazy river downstairs, eating pizza with the kids, and enjoying the view of the beach. Bailey finally crashed at about 10 that night. Long hours for such a little girl, but she couldn't miss a thing.

Sunday morning... Bailey was the first one up at about 7 a.m. No sleeping in on our vacations... at least not yet. Later in the morning, we headed out to the pool and beach. Bailey was all geared up and ready to go. She and Jake absolutely loved the pools - there were baby pools, big pools, indoor and outdoor. Their favorite though was the lazy river. With their arm swimmies on, they could easily just float through the lazy river without any effort. Both of them absolutely loved it. We walked out to the beach, but didn't really get in the water on Sunday. Jake wasn't sure about the sand... you know that stuff really sticks to your hands and he's not big on getting his hands dirty. He must take after his daddy. :) Eventually, he would get used to it.

Unfortunately, my dad and brother had to head back for work that evening. We only had a few hours at the pool and beach with them before they left. It was sad for me to see them both go. Cory is the closest thing I have to a sister (who else would tell me I look fat in certain outfits without making me mad?!). And, as I explained to my husband a few weeks ago, most of my favorite vacation memories as a kid are spending time with my dad. Maybe it was because he worked so hard, that it was great to have his undivided attention on our vacations. I happen to think that my dad and I have a special bond when it comes to the beach. For some reason, it's always been a love of ours - the rolling waves, evening storms, breezy winds... It's just something that I know my dad admires as much as I do. So, being there with everyone but him and Cory made it a little less than perfect. BUT... we still had a great time.

More to come... as a teaser - Jake becomes hell on wheels... Bailey crashes... the boys attempt a take over without Cory (don't worry, we win)... and a Walmart cashier makes me feel like I'm really young.

Little Mimick

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Jake is at a wonderful stage in life right now where he is mimicking EVERYTHING. It's so cute to watch him as he tries to communicate with us through gestures that he sees us use (we all know he CAN talk, but he has no reason to when Bailey does it all for him). For instance, tonight Bailey was conducting her usual manipulative pleas to watch one more episode of Little Bear before she had to go to bed. She was pacing back and forth, jumping up and down, swinging her arms, walking in and out of the room, etc. Jake was two steps behind her the entire time, mimicking her every move, crying out on occasion and grunting at us, as if to say, "Do what we want, and do it now!"

Dancing is also becoming a big thing for Jake. He's learning to dance quite nicely. :) He bounces up and down, turns around in circles, and head bangs (only slightly). The cutest dance move is his attempt to shake his butt. He bends his elbow on just one arm and moves it from side to side, barely moving anything other than the arm. Absolutely adorable. And he'll do it over and over if you just keep clapping for him. :)

And perhaps the most annoying part of his mimicking... Jake LOVES cell phones. LOVES them. He's so much like Brad when it comes to electronics that I'm almost concerned. We made the mistake of letting him play with Brad's old cell phone when he purchased a new one a few weeks ago. Ever since then, he's been bound and determined that any and all cell phones belong to him and that any and all calls are for him. So, please be warned that if you call our phones, you might hear screaming and crying as Jake enters the world of temper tantrums.

Natural Reaction

Somehow... someway... it's a natural reaction to the Oreo cookie. Jake picked up his cookie today and immediately pulled it apart to eat the middle. I can't recall anyone ever teaching him that. Strange...

Here are some pictures of the evidence. :)

Bailey loves Oreos too... mainly only the stuff in the middle. She wouldn't have me taking pictures of Jake and not her. :)